11 July 2018

The Optical Society Foundation Announces the 2018 Innovation School

Offerings in pitch development, client discovery and evidence gathering for early-career professionals
WASHINGTON – The Optical Society Foundation (OSAF) will host early-career professionals in the field of optics and photonics at this years’ 2018 Innovation School at The Optical Society in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., from 22-26 July 2018. During this four-day boot camp, participants discover how to identify high potential ideas, validate them using key tactics of customer discovery and evidence, vet them through innovation experimentation and develop pitches on new solutions, products or ventures.
“The Innovation School leverages the lean canvas business model to strengthen one’s understanding of the corporate environment’s culture, language and methodology of business,” says Chad Stark, executive director, The Optical Society Foundation.  “It is designed for those with a keen interest in learning more about how companies approach product innovation, customer discovery and marketing. Attendees leave with an understanding of how to evaluate the potential of a new idea, service or product using market and customer data and are better prepared to engage in the innovation within their companies.”
The school's focus is on acclimating attendees with an intrapreneurial/entrepreneurial drive to business-world realities. The teams will work to create a mock-business using the lean canvas model and exploring product/business concepts from a customer vantage point. Teams will present their pitches to a panel of industry experts and investors.
Facilitated by Georgetown University’s “Entrepreneur-in-Residence” Eric Koester, the Innovation School will feature presentations from veteran optical and photonic entrepreneurs like Ekaterina Golovchenko, IPG Photonics, Inc.; Lucian Hand, Altos Photonics, USA; Leslie Kimerling, Double Helix, U.S.A.; Claudio Mazzali, Corning Inc., U.S.A.; Sujatha Ramanujan, Luminate, U.S.A.; Mark Tolbert, TOPTICA Photonics, Inc., U.S.A.; and Linda Smith, Ceres Technology Advisors, U.S.A.
Attendees will also have access to industry mentors who will serve as guides for exploring an innovation/product, validating the concept with potential customers, developing and refining a pitch and beginning to think about next steps in terms of actual market value/impact. The mentors are: Cristina Canavesi, LighTopTech Corp., USA; Dan Christensen, Toptica, U.S.A.; Thomas Schopphoven, Fraunhofer ILT, Germany; Wei Sun, Thorlabs, U.S.A.; Matthew Weed, Luminar Technologies, U.S.A.
About The Optical Society Foundation
The Optical Society Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established by the Optical Society (OSA) in 2002 to carry out charitable activities that support the society’s mission of promoting the generation, application, archiving, and worldwide dissemination of knowledge in optics and photonics. The Foundation helps cultivate the next generation of leaders and innovators in the optics and photonics community as they move through advanced degree programs and become active members of research, engineering and business communities around the globe. The Foundation also works to secure OSA Awards and Honors program endowments. For more information, visit osa.org/foundation.

About The Optical Society
Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and entrepreneurs who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit: osa.org.

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